Well it’s winter time and snowy outside so this past Sunday the family and I decided to take an afternoon walk. I decided we would try out a nature trail at a local park. Just south of town is Brown’s Memorial Park, so we headed out. Never would I have thought we would learn as much as we did about this park.
Upon arriving at the trail there is an information sign showing what the park used to look like.
I would have never guessed there was so much water in this park.
The story below the sign is as follows.
“The Brown Memorial Park
Abilene, Ks had one of the most unique park and playground projects in the United States. C.L. Brown, public utility operator and philanthropist, provided from his own funds a most extensive and complete recreation center. The result of carefull planning is show in the transformation of a river farm, on which Brown’s parents had settled in the pioneer days, into “the Central Kansas Playground”. Brown Memorial Park was opened to the public in the summer of 1927, the first phase of a ten-year project.
This unique project provided facilities for diversified recreation without charge. There was a fleet of 40 rowboats and four motor launches on the one-mile lake. There was a bathing beach, a kiddie’s pool, a zoo with elk, buffalo, bears, and coyotes, supervised boys and girls camps, extensive picnic grounds, a nine-hole golf course and many landscaped areas. Several media sources reported an average of 250,000 visitors per year. An August 8, 1932 article reported some 17,000 visitors from 41 counties in Kansas and 12 different states the previous Sunday.
Due to the Depression, the death of C.L. Brown and other factors that led to the crumble of the wide-spread utilities and business empire that helped fund it, the magnificent Park operation had to be drastically curtailed in 1935. There were insufficient funds being generated to keep the amusement and recreation phases operating on anything like the former scale. The zoo gradually disappeared, the lake dried up and the golf course, where many Abilene residents learned the game, reverted back to pasture.”
On down the trail we went, the first thing you come to is an old stone bridge.
Just a little ways down from the Bear Cage is whats left of a small waterfall.
Across from the waterfall is what I am guessing would have been the pond that the waterfall ran into.
The last sign we came up to was about a ship that was built on for the Sea Scouts to train on.
Until that day I had never even heard of the Sea Scouts.
On the way back to the car the trail lead us next to a small creek. As you can see there is a lot of raccoons and other animals running around the park.
It was pretty cold so we didn’t see much other than a couple squirrels.
It amazes me that there was once such a large place right near our small community. Hopefully everyone will get out and explore their area and learn something new.